Yes it’s true.
Last night while attending what I mistakenly thought would be an educational event about mindset and money management, I saw 195 people all go to the front of the conference room waving $100 Bills in their hands ready to set them on fire.
How is this possible?
How can educated business owners that are taking time out of their busy schedules and lives be so influenced in one short day that they would be compelled to do something that no rational person would ever do.
It started at around 9am. About 200 entrepreneurs showed up for an event that promised to show them how to break free from middle class mindset and enter into the class of the rich. It is no secret that we always seem to stay in the same socio-economic level as our parents. Those that can break free and go to the next level of success are celebrated. The masses look to them as examples and try to follow their footsteps. If only we could learn what they learned… then we too can be successful.. is the thought.
Throughout the day various methods were used to create an emotional experience for the attendees.
Attendees were asked various times to close their eyes and imagine past pain. To hold two fingers together and imagine they are holding all of those negative mindset ideas and then when the speaker gave the word, to imagine they were letting go of the past.
Validation with others was used when groups were formed to share what was learned. Use of repetition of affirmations as a group exercise and whole body involvement through dancing to rock music was used with the specific intent to get people to lose their natural inhibitions.
Then around 8pm or so it was time.
The speaker had everyone take out their $100 bills that they were asked to bring to the event. If you forgot you were asked to take out as much money as you had that was close to that amount or to borrow that amount from someone.
After everyone was holding out the money in the air, staff members came to the front of the room with candles, buckets of water, and a fire extinguisher. You could feel the audience cringe.
The speaker began to share what was already in everyone’s mind. That to prove that you did not have an attachment to money, you had to throw that $100 bill into the fire.
There was hesitation.
Until the speaker began to berate and yell at everyone for not wanting to participate. Stating that if you were truly serious about being a success.. you would do this.
He explained how the audience would carefully walk from their seats in a single file line slowly and in order so no one would get hurt.
He explained that you needed to hold the bill away from the security thread so that sparks did not fly out.
He explained that ladies with acrylic nails should be careful and should just let go of that $100 bill. They know from experience he said.
Staff members were asked to help those with physical disabilities.
Ready begin. As everyone began to walk to the front of the room, myself and about 5 other ladies (interesting that there were no men in the back…) stood in the back of the room.
I wish I could remember exactly what words everyone was repeating over and over but I was too busy trying to hold up my phone and share via FaceTime with my husband to fully experience what was going on. Suffice it to say as everyone was walking to the front of the room the speaker was having them repeat something like… “Money has no control over me” or “Money has no power over me”.
As everyone crowded to the front the line stopped. Everyone was crowding forward and the speaker began to say things like.. Who is going to go first? If they are not ready to go first, let the next person go. Come on, who is going to be first.
And then the speaker said … Ahhhh…. Okay okay… we are not really going to burn $100 bills today!
The audience was shocked.. and a little disappointed. Everyone after all had just gone through the emotional decision to burn a $100 bill.
As everyone made their way back to their seats, the speaker began to ask what everyone learned from the experience.
Yes I can agree that some of the lessons learned were good.
But what I want to mostly point out is … how easily we are swayed by a charismatic speaker. How easily we are ready to follow the crowd.
The icing on the cake happened afterwards when the speaker began to give out points as to how foolish the audience was to be ready and willing to burn a $100 bill. After all.. you worked hard for that money and you were ready to burn it? Rich people don’t burn money, they invest it.
A well-orchestrated experience with one goal: Show the superiority of the speaker and influence a crowd of 195 people.
I am so tired of watching desperate people try to find solutions for their circumstances that I had to speak up and say something.
How can you avoid something like this happening to you? How can you make sure that the event you are attending is an educational focused event and not a high pressure sales event?
Generally speaking there are two types of conferences.
The first type is an educational conference that charges a fee to the attendees to attend with the goal of sharing up to date information with them.
The second type is a free event where you are given some information in exchange for listening to a pitch for the speakers products or services.
I have put together a short list for you to be able to distinguish which of the two you are attending.
Signs of a High Pressure Sales Event
- Free or low cost tickets to attend.
- Attendees had to leave a deposit of $97 or $197 that was refunded when they showed up at the event.
- Early start time of 8am.
- End time is about 9pm or even until 11pm.
- Sometimes: Little or no time for networking.
- Excessive use of testimonial videos throughout the event.
- Excessive use of clients being brought on stage as examples of success.
- Stating that they don’t need your money because they are already millionaires. (Right before they try to sell you an 8k-100K coaching program.)
- Use of imagery and feeling to have the attendee have an emotional experience or breakthrough.
- Fill in the blank manual that brings you from point A to point B to realize how messed up you or your business is so that you will sign up for the coaching program. (Not all fill in the blank manuals are high pressure sales tools.. just when orchestrated in a specific way for a specific purpose.)
- Saying.. this is not like all those other pitch fests out there… right before the speaker shows pictures of his house, car, vacation, boat, and jet.
- General feeling that you learned a few golden nuggets but if you are going to succeed and go to the next level, you have to join the speakers coaching program.
Signs of an Educational Event
- High ticket cost.
- Soft sell product offers after the presentations such as: connect with me if you would like to learn more.
- Lots of networking opportunities.
- Paid sponsors. (Sponsors are not usually wanted at high pressure sales events as they would conflict with the goal of signing up people for the high end coaching program)
- Multiple speakers. All of the speakers are not just from one organization.
- Lots of note taking and learning going on. Attendees walk away with a list of action items they can’t wait to go home to implement.
Overall the rule of thumb is: You get what you pay for. If you pay to attend an event, you can expect to receive a quality educational event with a focus on learning. If you got a free ticket to attend, then you can expect that the organizers are going to be selling something as they need to recoup their investment.
What do you think? Please leave a comment below!